GOP ballot asks voters' opinion on tax, amnesty

LAWRENCEVILLE - John Linder's book on his proposed FairTax has been flying off the shelves.

The streets of Gwinnett clogged when he held a rally for the idea in May.

But how many people actually want to do away with the federal income tax and instead pay more sales tax?

That question will be answered Tuesday.

It's one of five queries that voters can answer in a referendum on Republican ballots.

Gregory Howard, who is chairman of the local Grand Old Party, said he wanted something substantial to arm legislators with when they are talking about issues either in Congress or the General Assembly.

Linder, a favorite Duluth politician, has no opposition in the primary, but the ballot could still mean a lot for his legislative career.

For years, he's tried to convince his colleagues in Congress to scrap the old tax system for a national sales tax, but the powers-that-be haven't bought into the idea.

That's one reason why Howard wanted the idea on a ballot. It's not a straw poll - it's actual voters, and it's actual voters who often give Republicans a big boost during general elections for president.

In 2004, Gwinnett boasted one of the biggest margins for President George W. Bush of any county in the nation.

But that doesn't mean the voters will agree with him, Howard said.

He expects to see an overwhelming group vote against a Bush-proposed amnesty program for illegal aliens during Tuesday's referendum.

He isn't exactly sure how the numbers will turn out. That's why he's putting it on the ballot.

"I want to empower our voters to have a voice," Howard said. "You might be surprised."

The ballot also includes a question on whether people believe the borders should be secured before amnesty is discussed, a question on limiting the growth of government and one on increasing the gas tax to pay for road construction.